The rampant increase of under-age alcohol drinking has raised concerns among residents in Chinsali district in Muchinga Province.
Kelvin Mwenya, a concerned resident of Kabuta area, says the levels of under-age drinking in the area have reached alarming levels.
Mr Mwenya told ZANIS in an interview in Chinsali today that many children in Kabuta Township have resorted to substance abuse instead of utilising the free education policy that the Government recently introduced.
He lamented that many bars in the area open as early 05:00 hours in the morning, adding that the under-aged are the majority of customers that patronise the drinking places.
“These children are the ones that get involved in crime activities here after drinking alcohol and they have proved to be a menace to our community,” he said.
And Priscilla Mulenga another concerned resident, stated that bar owners in Chandamali and Kabuta townships fail to control children from accessing alcohol saying its business for them.
Ms Mulenga also observed that the lack of stiff restrictions by bar owners in allowing the under-aged from accessing alcohol is one major reason for the increasing levels of alcohol abuse.
She has since called on the local authority to intervene in curbing under-age drinking in Kabuta and Chandamali townships.
”There are too many bars in this area and this has contributed to increasing levels of under-age drinking,” she stated.
Meanwhile, Chinsali Municipal Council Assistant Public Relations Manager, Lolavwe Simukoko says the local authority has embarked on a sensitization campaign with the community and other various stakeholders to curb under-age drinking.
Mr Simukoko charged that the council has also engaged the Zambia Police Service to ensure that bar owners follow the stipulated guidelines of operation hours.
He stated that measures of intensifying inspections in bars around the district are underway, stressing that the curbing of under-age drinking is on the priority list of the local authority.
“I am urging guardians and parents to also take care of their children so that they do not engage themselves in illicit activities,” he added.
Kabuta, Choshi and Chandamali townships have been dotted as areas mainly characterised by substance abuse and high crime rate by the local authority.